Photos By Katherine Gaines, Review By Matthew Anderson
Before EDM was an acronym, or a lifestyle here in the states, European DJ’s had been experimenting and sharpening their dance floor chops from London to Ibiza. English pop duo The Pet Shop Boys traditionally had more in common with disco and classical composition than the beat-dropping modern pop music melting pot, but the multi-generational crowd at the Strathmore Thursday night was united under a blanket of electric rhythms.
With a thin curtain drawn, a time/space traveling projection drove us right into the ageless duo’s new album Electric with thumping opener “Axis,” which sounds like if Kraftwerk were to try cocaine and hit the dance floor. It took a great deal of restraint not to remove my seat from the floor and toss it to the side, a feeling I think a lot of the audience struggled with. With limited mobility between orchestra seats, dancing space was hard to come by.
The curtain dropped for “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” and the band took full advantage of the performance space with five costume changes, dancers that made use of stilts, pogo sticks and antelope skull masks (with seven costume changes of their own), and lights that rivaled Beyonce’s super bowl half-time show. It was hard to fault the crowd for shooting videos and Instagramming throughout the entire show. The boys were definitely asking for it.
PSB finished strong with a sing-along hit parade – “It’s a Sin,” “Domino Dancing,” “Always on My Mind,” “Go West” – complete with the ticker-tape confetti shower. In the end, the show was like a five course meal after which you’re neither hungry nor full – just perfectly satisfied.
For someone who wasn’t born until “West End Girls” hit the top chart spot in the UK, this was a revelation, and a reminder that long after that branches have fallen off the EDM tree, the roots will remain strong.
Electric is out now, loaded with some of the band’s most exciting work since the 90’s.